The Advancements and Enhancements of Polymer Plating in the Aerospace Industry
Polymer plating has drastically changed the face of the aerospace industry since it was initially implemented in the 1970’s. The continuous commitment to revolutionize and streamline our perceptions of air travel is what made this industry possible in the first place, from the initial stages of its infancy in 1903, to the continued commercial and military driven advancements seen today. These advancements have continued to make the aerospace industry one of, if not the biggest contributor to both American jobs and the American economy seen today.
One of the major advancements seen with the implementation of polymer plating is the decrease in weight for planes and shuttles. This decrease in weight helps reduce the amount of energy expenditure needed for an aerospace vehicle to fly. This decrease in energy required to even get a plane off the ground greatly increases the fuel efficiency of these vehicles, which decreases the amount of fuel needed to travel via plane. Since oil/fuel is a nonrenewable resource, this decreases our consumption while also decreasing the amount of harm done to the environment.
While polymer plating has caused a decrease in weight, it has also seen an increase flame and heat resistances. These heat resistant properties offer longevity and safety that metal simply could not. Depending on the polymer used, planes have seen a dramatic increase for the flame retardant capabilities. For example, Carbon Fiber is completely inflammable and lightweight, which has led to it being a common material used to create aircraft wings. The increase in flame resistance has also led to an increase in higher mechanical stability when exposed to extreme temperatures. This creates an all around safer flying experience for pilots, passengers, and crew.
Thanks to the increase in polymer plating technologies, more complex and compact plane parts can be created through the use of 3-D printing and CNC lathes. Along with being able to withstand extreme environments, the components of planes have gotten more compact. This means less material is used, which creates less weight and waste, all the while never compromising safety.
Safety has also seen an enormous increase throughout the years. Polymers rival, if not surpass traditional metals like steel in regard to its strength. There has also been an increase for the lifespan of a plane or its components since the likelihood of rust or corrosion are decreased through the use of polymers. Replacement parts are also more easily obtainable through the ease of creation and specialization afforded by 3-D printing and the dynamic capabilities of differing polymers.